Strength and Beauty

A man wants a beautiful woman. A woman wants a strong man. This is evidenced by almost every TV commercial and music video and gym. The question we need to ask is, “What kind of strength and beauty am I looking for?”

Physical beauty and strength are fine; there’s nothing in scripture against those attributes in and of themselves. There’s no sin in the sin lists (e.g., 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Rev. 22:12-16) about looking good and strong keeping you from heaven. There’s the warning about a woman’s beauty not being only from adornment, but from a meek and = quiet spirit (1 Pet. 3:4). But notice that it says it should not come ONLY from those things. This means that the Bible accepts her wearing clothes and jewelry, but that is not to be her source of beauty.

And about men, Paul says that physical training has some, or little, or even in some translations no value; but godliness has great value.

Here we see that strength and beauty are biblical goals, but those characteristics are not musculature, clothing, or other physical attributes. Those goals are godliness – a man’s strength and a woman’s beauty are founded on biblical godliness.

Where do we find strength and beauty in the Bible? One example is in the Song of Solomon. The first thing that the Bride wanted was her man to hold her (1:2-4). The first thing the man did was to praise her beauty (1:9-10). Physical attractiveness and attraction are not sins. The sins are in the “Why?” of our pursuits.

Why do you work out? Why do you wear the clothes you do? Why do you wear that perfume or cologne? Why do you want to attract others? If we base our choices on physicality, then someday we’ll be sorely disappointed. Beauty fades, strength dwindles.

Not only will we be disappointed by the dwindling and fading of all of our efforts to look good, but those goals for the purpose of wanting people to admire us are sins; they’re simply unChristlike. We’re making people idols, and our goal is to attract attention to our physical selves.We shouldn’t be diverted from those goals because they’ll go away, but because they displace Jesus in our lives and in what we show to the world. We should be glorifying Jesus, not our bodies or our souls. 

Godly beauty and strength outlast a lifetime. You can test it this way. The next time you see a funeral, or hear the comments after someone has passed away, or read the obituary, see how many times they say “he had a double chin, his knees were bad, he had weak ankles, he was ripped!, she was a looker!” You won’t hear those (except in rudeness). You’ll hear from those who were affected, either positively or negatively, “She was so sweet, he was so kind, she was always ready to help out.” Or perhaps, “He was a miser, she didn’t care, I couldn’t wait for the day…”

What will your grandchildren hear or know about you? If they know anything at all, it will be about who you were, not what you looked like. They may look at a picture out of interest, but that’s not what affects future generations.

What carries on, your legacy, is your godly strength and beauty. And in simplistic terms, a godly man wants a woman who has godly beauty, and a godly woman wants a man who has godly strength. Our bodies are vastly different from our souls. In our bodies we are, for the most part, limited to a certain form or range of strength and beauty, based on our body type, background, genes, etc. You can only look so good or be so physically strong. But with the spiritual attributes – they come from the Holy Spirit, and are sex-independent. In Christ there is no male or female. A man’s godly strength will be beautiful, and a woman’s godly beauty will give her strength. While there is a God-given form to men and women, and our propensity is to go toward one or the other depending upon our sex, but we can go beyond just one or the other. And that will happen, not because of who we are, but, because of Whose we are. We belong to Jesus, and He will make us strong and beautiful. Strong for the tasks that He has given to us, and how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! Neither male nor female, but one in Christ.

But don’t give up on your body! It’s the temple of the Holy Spirit. Dwell on what that fact entails. We have this treasure in jars of clay, but these jars are not to be broken, at least not by us. We were made by God; we are His, the sheep of His pasture. Our bodies are not ours. Before marriage, these bodies are God’s alone. After, they belong to God and our spouse. Your bodies always have and always will belong to God for His uses. Do what you can to make your body strong and beautiful for whatever task comes your way. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:23). Always ask, “Am I working with all my heart for the Lord?”

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